Monday, November 1, 2021

Gilbert AZ Riparian Preserve…


What a neat spot we found nearby in Gilbert Arizona. The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch was once just a slice of the Sonoran Desert until the town of Gilbert converted it into a wonderful preserve. The preserve is a great places for visitors and residents alike to go walking, fishing, birding or picnicking. They have created a perfect slice of wildlife habitat within the city!.



In 1986, the Town of Gilbert made a commitment to reuse 100% of its effluent water which led to the development of the Riparian Preserve in 1999. There are 110 acres in this preserve and of the 100 acres 70 acres are part of  the 7 water recharge basins which are filled on a rotating basis with treated effluent in order to allow these waters to percolate back into the aquifer for future use.


While hiking on the over 4.5 miles of trails in the preserve visitors will be hiking through various vegetative zones ranging from marshlands to native riparian and upland vegetation areas. Here you may encounter some of the 298 species of birds which have been identified on the site. The hiking and the birding is what attracted us to this site.


The preserve is also used for community development and for educational purposes for the children attending schools in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. We have seen many people fishing, children learning, people walking their dogs and nature enthusiasts in the park on our many jaunts to the preserve.


On any given afternoon we will drive the 8-10 minutes to enjoy a nice walk. We have hiked all of the trails within the park and have seen many different species of birds. With fall migration in full bloom we have seen some birds one wouldn’t expect to see in the desert such as Whirl Pelicans and even a Roseate Spoonbill!


Another neat aspect of this preserve is the abundance of rabbits. While walking on trails throughout the preserve you will see 100’s of rabbits and even more Gamble's  Quail and Abert’s Towhees. These species have obviously benefited from this wetland oasis in the desert.


What makes this preserve even better for us is the proximity to the old downtown area of Gilbert AZ which has become quite the entertainment district. After hiking/birding in the preserve we can be found at one of three downtown establishments who offer up some of the best food and happy hours we have encountered during our travels.


O.H.S.O. in Gilbert is a brewery currently offering $7 32oz. pitchers of any of their Arizona craft brews until 5pm. Along with a nice selection of food on happy hour and some great burgers this is a must stop in town.


Another favorite is a wine bar called Postinos who offers $5 32 oz pitchers and $5 glasses of wine from 3-5pm. Wine lovers can also opt to have the whole bottle for only $20. On Monday and Tuesday evening they offer a deal of $25 for a bottle of wine and a bruschetta board with ample portions of various bruschetta choices.


Our favorite has to be the Joyride Taco House where we have become somewhat regulars during our stay here in Mesa. Their 3-5 happy hour offers $5 32oz beers as well as $5 margaritas (until 6pm). Even better a basket of hot chips and salsa is served to everyone for free. Finishing the evening with 2 or 3 of the street tacos at $2.50 apiece makes for not only an inexpensive dinner but a great night out on the town. Joyride is always an energetic, happy place to be.


We are certainly going to miss these locations when we leave this area on November 1st…


  1. The preserve looks like a great place to spend a few hours. There certainly a lot of birds that have made it a stop on their migrations.